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Staples CEO Sargent Total FY10 Compensation $15.2 Million, Up 41%

By Maxwell Murphy Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Staples Inc. (SPLS) Chairman and Chief Executive Ronald Sargent saw his total compensation for fiscal 2010 increase 41% from the prior year to $15.2 million, despite the office-products behemoth's admission that its stock didn't perform up to its expectations during the period. Sargent received a base salary of nearly $1.15 million, up 3% from fiscal 2009, for which he received no raise, according to a document filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He received restricted stock awards valued at almost $7.7 million at the grant date last year, nearly double that of the year before, which more than offset stock options awards valued at $3.4 million, more than $500,000 below where the fiscal-2009 options award was valued at the grant date. The CEO also received a cash incentive payment of $2.4 million, up 82% from fiscal 2009, and the company's four other named executives also received cash incentives much larger than the prior year. No cash incentives were granted in fiscal 2008, according to the annual proxy filing with the SEC. To round out his total compensation, Sargent, 55, received other compensation valued at $477,978, which included life insurance, tax services and dividend-equivalents paid on restricted stock granted prior to January 2009, among other perquisites. Although Staples conceded a lagging stock price, which is currently off 16.5% over the past 12 months, it said it made "steady progress" last year in increasing its per-share earnings and its return on net assets, its internal measure of its return on invested capital. It also touted customer-service metrics it said are at "historical highs," and said it "made great progress with the integration of Corporate Express," the 2008 acquisition Staples called its largest ever. "Growth initiatives have focused the organization, clarified capabilities and begun to show positive results," Staples said in the filing, and it expects that its 2010 achievements will enable it to "drive long term stock price appreciation." -By Maxwell Murphy, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2171;

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